Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - Painting - Aqueous Paints

General Properties of Aqueous Paints - Preservatives and Odorants

Transparent Watercolor - Gouache - Casein Paints - Poster Colors

Poster Colors

The water paints sold in glass jars are made by grinding pigments with simple water-soluble binders, such as glue, casein, or dextrin, and they ordinarily contain considerable amounts of inert pigment or extender for they are essentially cheap products. A preservative, an odorant, and, in some of the better grades, a little glycerin round out the recipes.

Because poster colors are not permanent enough for use in carefully controlled fine-arts techniques, they have received scant attention in the books on painting materials. They are widely employed for use in scenery painting, sketching, for purposes of commercial art, illustration and display, and to a considerable extent, in educational work. Although poster colors are definitely inferior products from the viewpoint of the accepted permanent fine arts paints, they are entirely adequate for the purposes for which they are intended and usually fulfill their own requirements well. The user will note a difference in quality and permanence between the cheaper and the more expensive brands. The inert pigments which they all contain are not used solely as cheapeners--such paints requiring a certain amount of bulk in relation to tinting strength--but the cheaper grades will always contain larger amounts of these fillers than the better ones. The distinctions implied in the names given to them by various makers are unstandardized and not indicative of quality. Poster colors, show-card colors, opaque watercolors, and tempera colors are some of the names by which these products are sold; the last, however, is a misnomer and, as previously noted, has caused some confusion in the past. [p. 159]

[Mayer, Ralph. The Painter's Craft. An Introduction to Artist's Methods and Materials. Revised and updated by Steven Sheehan, Director of the Ralph Mayer Center, Yale University School of Art. New York: Penquin Group. 1948. 1991.]



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